Category Archives: Golf

Today’s Sports Stat: February 20, 2018

With zero victories on the PGA Tour in 2017, there were some people who thought we had seen the best of Bubba Watson. A two-time Majors winner and winner of nine PGA events since his rookie season of 2006, Watson himself even admitted his golf and health struggles, especially last season, had forced him to seriously consider retirement. He added that he and his wife had conversations about the “R” word and he gave thoughts to spending more time overseeing his candy store, a car dealership and the minor league baseball team he owns. So much for retirement planning, huh?

On Sunday, February 18, almost exactly two years to the date of his last win, Watson for the third time in his career won the Genesis Open (formerly the Northern Trust Open), reigniting his career and giving his game relevance as the 2018 season gets a full head of steam towards the four Majors this year.

As one of the game’s more entertaining players, a win by Watson is great for the sport. Let’s take a look at six stats you may not know about Watson.

  1. With his victory at the Genesis Open, Watson has now won 10 PGA events. He becomes the 115th golfer to amass double-digit wins in the tour’s history. Of the 115 players on this list, Watson is the sixth youngest (Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia are the five players younger than Watson on this list).
  2. Watson has a pair of Masters’ wins to his credit, winning in 2012 and 2014. With 10 PGA Tour wins and a pair of major victories, Watson is one of only 49 players to have 10 PGA wins and two majorsto his credit.
  3. A left-hander, Watson became only the second lefty to win 10 or more PGA events. Topping this list is Phil Mickelson with 42 PGA Tour wins. After Watson on the list are #Mike Weir (eight wins), Bob Charles (six wins) and Steve Flesch (four wins).
  4. Mickelson tops the list with five Majors wins by a lefty followed by Watson’s two wins. In addition, lefty Mike Weir won the 2003 Masters and fellow southpaw Bob Charles won the 1963 British Open.
  5. Keeping with his recent pattern of winning the Northern Trust Open, now the Genesis Open, on even-numbered years, Watson became a three-time winner of the event, having won also in 2014 and 2016. He became the fifth golfer to win the event three times joining Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Lloyd Mangrum and Macdonald Smith.
  6. Watson has played in 40 majors events on the tour, winning two Masters. He finished second in the 2010 PGA Championship and had a tie for fifth finish at the 2007 U.S. Open… giving him four Top-10 finishes in majors he has played. He has missed the cut in 15 of the 40 events.

Welcome back, Bubba!


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Runner-up at the Masters


Jack Nicklaus made headlines this week when he got a hole-in-one at the Masters “Par-Three” event. Nicklaus is used to making a name for himself at Augusta. He holds the tournament record with six wins, but did you know he also is tied for the most runner-up spots in the Masters?

Nicklaus is one of 25 golfers who finished in second (or a tie for second) in two or more Masters. Nicklaus finished as runner-up four times, which ties him with Ben Hogan and Tom Weiskopf.

Here’s a look at the players who have finished second in two or more Masters:

4: Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf

3: Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite, Johnny Miller, Greg Norman, Tom Watson

2: Seve Ballesteros, Harry Cooper, Ben Crenshaw, David Duval, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Ralph Guldahl, Davis Love III, Lloyd Magnum, Cary Middlecoff, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Ken Venturi, Craig Wood, Tiger Woods

Of the 25 golfers above, 11 have never won a Masters event. Leading the way is Weiskopf who finished second four times but never won the tourney. Of the five players who have finished in the runner-up spot in three tournaments, Kite, Miller and Norman never won the Masters.

Jordan Spieth took the first round lead in this year’s event with an eight-under score. Tiger Woods holds the tournament record with a 72-hole total of 18-under par. Twenty-six of the Masters champions won the event with a score of 10-under or better. Thirty-two golfers in the history of the event have ended their four rounds with a score of 10-under or better yet did not win the event; it happened to two golfers twice, Raymond Floyd and Tiger Woods.

Here’s a look at the best 72-hole scores (under par) that did not win the Masters.

14-under: David Duval (2001)

13-under: Davis Love III (1995), Phil Mickelson (2001), Lee Westwood (2010)

12-under: Chad Campbell (2009), Jason Day (2011), Chris DiMarco (2005), Anthony Kim (2010), Kenny Perry (2009), Adam Scott (2011)

11-under: K.J. Choi (2010), Raymond Floyd (1992), Jay Haas (1995), Johnny Miller (1975), Greg Norman (1995), Tom Weiskopf (1975), Tiger Woods (2010)

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SIX STATS you may not know about… The Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup

The 40th Ryder Cup Matches will be held from 26–28 September 2014 on the PGA Centenary Course at the Gleneagles Hotel near Auchterarder in Perthshire, Scotland. Here’s a look at a few stats from past events.

1. Although the USA leads the all-time series 25-12-2, the European squad has won the last two, five of the last six, and seven of the last nine competitions.

2. The Ryder Cup has been held on American soil 20 times (in 17 different states) since the series began in 1927. The U.S. states where it has been held include: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia. California, Massachusetts and Ohio have held the event twice.

3. Since 1979, the last 17 Ryder Cups, the competition has been decided by one point in seven years (there was also one tie). Six of the matches were decided by five points or more.

4. Tiger Woods has played in seven Ryder Cups (1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012). The U.S. has won only one of those years (1999). Jack Nicklaus played in six Ryder Cups; the Americans won five and tied one in those matches. Arnold Palmer played in six Ryder Cups; the U.S. team was undefeated in those Ryder Cups.

5. Phil Mickelson has played in the most Ryder Cup matches for the U.S. team with 38. There are seven other American golfers who have played in 30 or more Ryder Cup matches: Billy Casper (37), Lanny Wadkins (34), Tiger Woods (33), Arnold Palmer (32), Raymond Floyd (31), Jim Furyk (30) and Lee Trevino (30).

6. Nick Faldo has played in the most Ryder Cup matches for the European team with 46. He is followed by Bernhard Langer with 42.

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The next major after winning a major: Ernie Els looks for solid effort

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: Golfer Ernie Els walks up the fairway...

Ernie Els (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reigning British Open champ Ernie Els shot a 72 yesterday and was tied for 45th after day one, six shots back of leader Carl Petterson after the first round of the PGA Championship.

It has been well-documented that in the last 16 majors there have been 16 different winners. This goes back to 2008 when Padraig Harrington won the 2008 British Open and then won the 2008 PGA Championship. Since then, we have had a different winner of the majors in all 16 events; when Els won the 2012 British Open he became the 16th different golfer to win a major in the last 16 events.

In looking at the last 16 winners of the majors, we discover that they haven’t played all that well in the next major following their major victory. In fact, of the last eight major winners, four did not make the cut in their next major, one did not play in the next major, and the other three finished tied for ninth, tied for 25th and tied for 27th.

Of the last 16 major winners, only three finished in the top 10 in the next major. Of these 16, Louis Oosthuizen has the distinction of missing the cut in the majors prior to and after winning a major. Oosthuizen won the 2010 British Open after missing the cut at the 2010 US Open and he missed the cut weeks later at the next major, the 2010 PGA Championship.

Following is a look at how well each of the winners from the past 16 majors have done in the major before their major victory and how well they performed in the major after their major win.

Golfer, Year-Major win, previous major to win… next major after win

Padraig Harrington, 2008-PGA Championship: Won 2008 British Open… tied for 35th at 2009 Masters

Angel Cabrera, 2009-Masters: tied for 20th at 2008 PGA… tied for 54th at 2009 US Open

Lucas Glover, 2009-US Open: did not play in 2009 Masters… missed cut at 2009 British Open

Stewart Cink, 2009-British Open: tied for 27th at 2009 US Open… tied for 67th at 2009 PGA

Yang Yong-eun, 2009-PGA Championship: did not play in the 2009 British Open… tied for 8th at 2010 Masters

Phil Mickelson, 2010-Masters: finished 73rd at 2009 PGA… tied for 4th at 2010 US Open

Graeme McDowell, 2010 US Open: missed the cut at the 2010 Masters… tied for 23rd at 2010 British Open

Louis Oosthuizen, 2010 British Open: missed cut at 2010 US Open… missed cut at 2010 PGA

Martin Kaymer, 2010 PGA Championship: tied for 7th at 2010 British Open… missed cut at 2011 Masters

Charl Schwartzel, 2011 Masters: tied for 18th at 2010 PGA… tied for 9th at 2011 US Open

Rory McIlroy, 2011 US Open: tied for 15th at 2011 Masters… tied for 25th at 2011 British Open

Darren Clarke, 2011 British Open: did not play in 2011 US Open… missed cut at 2011 PGA

Keegan Bradley, 2011 PGA Championship: did not play in 2011 British Open… tied for 27th at 2012 Masters

Bubba Watson, 2012 Masters: tied for 26th at 2011 PGA Championship… missed cut at 2012 US Open

Webb Simpson, 2012 US Open: tied for 44th at 2012 Masters… did not play in 2012 British Open

Ernie Els, 2012 British Open: finished 9th at 2012 US Open… (where will he finish in the 2012 PGA Championship?)

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2012 British Open: Is Adam Scott’s four-stroke lead safe?

PGA golf professional Adam Scott chips out of ...

Adam Scott (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Australian Adam Scott sits at 11-under after the third round and takes a four-stroke lead into the final round of the British Open. He leads  Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and American Brant Snedeker. Tiger Woods is five shots back.

The question: Is his four-shot lead insurmountable?

Looking back at the past 50 British Opens, there have been only four times when the third round leader had a lead of four strokes or more and lost the tournament. Interestingly enough, each of the four times occurred since 1995.

Here’s a few other quick stats about those golfers who have led the British Open after the third round since 1962:

* In 27 of the last 50 tournaments (54 percent) the golfer leading after the third round (or was tied for the lead) has won the tournament.

* Of the 23 tournaments where the third round leader eventually lost the tournament, in three tourneys the eventual winner came from one stroke back to win; in 12 tourneys, the winner came from two shots back to win.

* Scott’s four-shot lead is the 11th time since 1962 that the third-round leader goes into the final round with a lead of four shots or more. In nine of those previous 10 times, the third-round leader won the tournament; the only exception was in 1999 when third-round leader Jean van de Velde blew a five-shot lead at the start of th day on Sunday and lost the tournament to Paul Lawrie in a playoff.

Following are the biggest third-round deficits to win the British Open since 1962.

Third-Round Deficit, golfer, year

-10: Paul Lawrie, 1999

-6: Padraig Harrington, 2007

-5: Justin Leonard, 1997

-4: John Daly, 1995

-3: Tom Watson, 1975; Tom Watson, 1982; Sandy Lyle, 1985; Mark Calcavecchia, 1989

The last golfer to come from behind after the third round to win the British Open was American Stewart Cink who was tied for sixth after the third round in the 2009 tournament. He was two shots back going into Sunday’s round, but tied third-round leader Tom Watson at the end of 18 holes on Sunday. He defeated Watson in the playoff.

Of note is that Watson won two of his British Opens after being behind by three shots going into the final round.

Following are the golfers who have won the most British Opens in the last 50 years who were not in the lead after the third round.

Jack Nicklaus, 3 (1966, 1970, 1978)

Seve Ballesteros, 3 (1979, 1984, 1988)

Tom Watson, 2 (1975, 1982)

Padraig Harrington, 2 (2007, 2008)

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